Keeping employees motivated to work hard year after year can be challenging. But without the right motivation, keeping your team consistently productive can be nearly impossible. That’s why it’s essential to remember to say “thank you” every now and then to those employees who prove to be assets to you and your entire organization. With just a little thought, especially during the holidays when companies usually reward employees for a successful year, showing appreciation can be easy as pumpkin pie.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
When searching for something that would truly repay your staff for their hard work or a job done especially well, nothing can be more precious to some people than time. It could be as simple as allowing them to leave early one Friday or giving birthdays off. Especially around holidays when everyone seems more rushed, an afternoon off could do tons to help a valued employee catch up on his or her holiday to-do list. If this quick fix helps lower the stress level within your team, you and your company reap the benefits.
Food, Glorious Food
So what’s the quickest way to a valued employee’s heart? Yep, it’s through the stomach. Breakfast biscuits, bagels, doughnuts, homemade goodies, or even a fruit tray will find you favor with your staff. If you really want to go all out, take your staff out to lunch or provide lunch after a demanding project is successfully completed.
Devil in the Details
Praising individual employees can be a slippery slope because you don’t want to end up tagging one as the token “teacher’s pet”. But praising an employee for a job well done when he or she has truly gone above and beyond designated duties is something that should work to motivate your entire team to do the same. It’s important to remember to be specific when praising employees so the employee and other team members know what you consider praise-worthy. Whether the rest of the team aspires to greater results or not, you still will be seen as a responsive manager who rewards employees for going that extra mile.
There’s a difference between being a busybody and taking a sincere interest in your employees’ personal lives. By keeping up with birthdays, hiring anniversaries, special vacations, hobbies, interests, and other things your employees find important makes them feel valued. But one warning: If you aren’t genuinely interested in your employees, don’t force it. Insincerity is hard to hide.
Depending on the financial stability of your organization, nothing says “thank you” like a big, fat bonus. And I’m not talking about across-the-board raises. Believe me when I say that rewarding your standout employees with end-of-year bonuses above what every employee receives will pay off for you as well. Set up yearly goals so they have something to strive for throughout the year. Just make sure you can pay up when those goals are reached, or you’ll undo all the year’s worthy of motivation by failing to come through with the cash.
Leaving the Nest
Sometimes you’ve got to let an employee spread his or her wings. This freedom is relatively easy to come by and adds to their self worth. Encourage them to be active in professional groups. Chances are they’ll bring back useful information for your team.
Wrap It Up
A small token of your appreciation — just make sure it’s not too small — is a great way to acknowledge great work. It could be a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant. Essentially, it’s the gesture here that is relevant and not the item, but getting this right goes a long way toward building a strong work relationship within your team. If you know your employees well enough, try shopping for a special gift that will instantly let them know they are appreciated. One time my boss gave me the new version of World of Warcraft gaming software. Yeah, we’re geeks, and we’re gamers. But more importantly, it showed me that he took the time to find out what I liked and it made my day. You can do the same with a little effort.
Make It Official
Giving an employee a printed and signed certificate (framed would be nice too) detailing an accomplishment to hang proudly in their work area could just do the trick as well. Consider the employee when deploying this appreciation tactic. While some folks crave attention and would cherish this type of recognition, others might see it as an easy out on your part. You don’t want to come off as insincere.
Provide training opportunities. Nurturing an employee’s growth within your team and your company will only add to your own success as the inspired employee grows and contributes. This message was brought to you by Global Knowledge Training.
Keep It Simple
The simplest way of all to show your appreciation to your employees is simply tell them how much you truly value their dedication and work ethic. You will be amazed how far a simple heartfelt “thank you” can go. Just don’t forget the pat on the back.